December 31, 2009

Day 365 - Good-bye 2009


Day 365 - Good-bye 2009
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil
Tonight we say "Good-bye" to the year-end holidays and the year of 2009. As my final photo of the year, I chose these delightful reindeer in a dear friend's front yard. I love that they are made out of real birch trees and blend so nicely with her very natural landscaping. I like the idea of moving away from 'plastic' and more towards being natural.

December 30, 2009

Day 364 - Theatre


Day 364 - Theatre
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil
We took our girls and parents to see "In the Heights" at the Cadillac Palace Theatre today. It was a fantastic musical production. This outing was our gift to our girls for Christmas and to my husband's parents as their birthday gifts. We went out for dinner after the show. We had a wonderful time with family today!

December 29, 2009

Day 363 - Lucy in the snow




Day 363 - Lucy in the snow
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil

We finally had a really sunny day today. Although the temperature was still a cold 20 degrees, it was a nice day for a long walk with Lucy. She doesn't mind the cold and loves prancing in the snow. We found some undisturbed snow to play in at the park by our house.

December 28, 2009

Day 362 - Santa's chair




Day 362 - Santa's chair
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil

This was the only empty area at Woodfield today. Woodfield is a huge shopping mall in our area and I went there to meet some friends for dinner. Before dinner, I stopped in at the Apple Store to take an iPhoto workshop. The Apple Store was packed. After the workshop, I walked through the mall and it was wall-to-wall people. When I came across Santa's chair, it struck me how empty it was now and how bustling with children it must have been just a few days ago. I'm sure Santa is back at the North Pole resting from his busy seaso

December 27, 2009

Day 361 - Winter sky




Day 361 - Winter sky
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil

We had a tiny peak at blue sky for a few short moments this afternoon, after having only gray skies for a couple of weeks. We may actually get some sunshine for a couple days at the beginning of next week

December 26, 2009

Day 360 - Meghan dancing


Day 360 - Meghan dancing
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil

Tonight we went to a friend's surprise 30th birthday party at a local bar called Cubbie Bear North. The band playing, 7DEEZ, are friends of Meghan's family. It was fun to celebrate with Meghan!

December 25, 2009

Day 359 - Early Christmas morning

I was the first one downstairs this morning and this was the scene as I walked into our family room. Santa left presents in six stockings! Our Christmas Day traditions changed about 10 years ago. We now spend a quiet day with just our immediate family. Last year we added a stocking for our son-in-law and this year we added a stocking for our dog! I love Christmas mornings as we open stocking stuffers and then have breakfast together.

December 24, 2009

Day 358 - Christmas Eve


Day 358 - Christmas Eve
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil

I've been taking photos of our children in front of the Christmas tree ever since they were born. Cheryl & Kristin are now 29 and 26. This photo was taken just before we headed off to church and then on to celebrate the Beil Family Christmas at my sister-in-law's house. I love having both my girls home for Christmas!

December 23, 2009

Day 357 - Christmas decorations

These are two of my favorite Christmas decorations. I usually display them on our mirrored table in our foyer. The ceramic tree was a gift from a student many years ago. The wooden fireplace was given to us by my mother-in-law who bought it at a craft fair. It is personalized with our names on the stockings and small wooden items that represent our interests. There is a computer and camera for me on the left side of the mantel!

December 22, 2009

Day 356 - Reindeer


Day 356 - Reindeer
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil

Kristin is home from Denver! I went with her to a doctor's appointment this morning and we stopped in the lobby of the office building for a photo shoot. One of Santa's reindeer was nearly as happy to see Kristin as I was!

December 21, 2009

Day 355 - Santa tissues


Day 355 - Santa tissues
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil

Here is another needlepoint decoration made by my mom. Today is her birthday and she would have been 79 years old. I've been thinking about mom a lot today, so it seems right to use another of her creations for my photo today. She especially enjoyed Christamas and I have many happy memories of her joy when giving us gifts, great meals, and love.

December 20, 2009

Day 354 - Ornament


Day 354 - Ornament
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil

The ornaments we ordered from bighugelabs.com/ arrived today. This is our adopted beagle Lucy on the ornament. The ornaments are ceramic and the photos are printed on the ornaments. I love the newest addition to our tree!

December 19, 2009

Day 353 - Snow!


Day 353 - Snow!
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil
We awoke this morning to beautiful sparkling trees! We got about 4 inches of fresh snow. The temperature was hovering right around freezing, so the snow was very wet and clung to the trees. Scott went out to shovel the driveway and I went out to romp in the snow with Lucy. What a pretty day!

December 18, 2009

Day 352 - Stocking


Day 352 - Stocking
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil

Today we drove into Indiana to be with family at a visitation at a funeral home. My aunt's sister passed away and the family gathered to celebrate her life, a wonderful 92 years. This stocking was hanging on her casket. The note inside the stocking is Aunt Dorothy's wish list, "To be with my husband". She got her wish a week before Christmas and has joined her husband in heaven. Peace be with you!

December 17, 2009

Day 351 - Wine and chocolate!


Day 351 - Wine and chocolate!
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil

Today a gift arrived in the mail for me. It was a bottle of Cherry wine from Anderson's Winery and a bag of chocolate Kisses. The gift is from my secret elf, one of my online tech friends who I network with on plurk. This is the second year I've participated in a holiday gift exchange with my PLN. It has been a lot of fun sharing the joy of the season with these friends.

December 16, 2009

Day 350 - Soldier


Day 350 - Soldier
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil

Here's another yard with Christmas decorations that we pass by on walks with our dog. This house was sited in our local paper as a house with 'must see' decorations. This photo shows just a small portion of the many lighted decorations in their front yard.

December 15, 2009

Day 349 - Christmas lights


Day 349 - Christmas lights
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil

This beautiful house belongs to my friend Janet. She and her husband LOVE Christmas and always have the best Christmas decorations outside and inside of their house. It takes them a couple weeks to get all the decorating done and then they graciously entertain friends so that we too get to enjoy their beautiful holiday spirit.Tonight Janet had her friends over for a 'Ladies' Night'. It was great visiting with friends in such a lovely holiday atmosphere.

December 14, 2009

Day 348 - Good dog!


Day 348 - Good dog!
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil

When we walked into our dog obedience class tonight, the trainer's dog, Coby, was sitting patiently on the grooming table. The trainer had been demonstrating dog grooming to the puppy class that meets before our class. Coby sat patiently on the table while our trainer cleaned up her supplies and talked with us. What a good dog!

December 13, 2009

Day 347 - Snowman


Day 347 - Snowman
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil

I'm enjoying a lot of outdoor holiday decorations this year as I walk the dog. These blow-up decorations are quite popular. This snowman is about 10 feet tall. They look quite nice at night, but during the day, when the motor that keeps them inflated is off, they look like a heap of fabric on the front lawns. Besides snowmen, I've seen Santas, snowglobes, and dreidels!

December 12, 2009

Day 346 - Hostess


Day 346 - Hostess
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil

Today I attended a cookie exchange with dear friends from the school I retired from. The cookie exchange has become an annual event and the hostess rotates from year to year. This year, Deb was our hostess. In the photo, Deb, who is a special education resource teacher, is giving a big hug to Michele, who has been her teaching assistant for many years. I'm so lucky to have such wonderful friends!

December 11, 2009

Day 345 - Party!


Day 345 - Party!
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil

In this photo, John & Betsy are enjoying the Patton School holiday party! John is their custodian and Betsy is a teaching assistant. I've been subbing a lot at Patton and was invited to their holiday party. Thank you Patton friends!

December 10, 2009

Day 344 - Peanut butter!


Day 344 - Peanut butter!
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil

We have one spoiled dog! I was baking Christmas cookies this evening. The cookies called for creamy peanut butter, and I emptied one jar. Guess who got to lick out the jar!

December 9, 2009

Day 343 - A little snow


Day 343 - A little snow
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil

We got a little bit of wet snow today. Here it is frosting the dried prairie grass in our garden. We cut back most of the dried/dead plants in our gardens, but we like to leave the prairie grasses until spring because they add winter beauty and provide food and shelter for the birds and other animals.

December 8, 2009

Day 342 - Faith, Family, Friends

Today I attended my 2nd annual District 25 Alumni Holiday Luncheon. Attending were 97 retired staff members. This is one of the delightful perks of being retired, we all raised our wine glasses and toasted to being retired! The chorus and jazz band from one of our middle schools were our entertainment. As a favor, we received a cute bear ornament in these colorful gift bags. What a fun way to spend an afternoon!

December 7, 2009

Day 341 - Indoor plants


Day 341 - Indoor plants
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil

Now that the summer & fall outdoor gardening season is over, it is time to spend more time caring for my indoor plants. They've been a bit neglected. Luckily, I have chosen pretty hardy plants to grow indoors. The plants in this photo are on the pass through sill between our kitchen & dining room.

December 6, 2009

Day 340 - Christmas lights

This is how the outside of our house looks tonight. My husband is very happy he put up the lights last weekend while it was warmer. We are finally getting winter temperatures and there is snow predicted on and off next week. I love seeing the lights lit on the homes in our neighborhood when I'm out walking the dog at night!

December 5, 2009

Day 339 - Christmas Tree


Day 339 - Christmas Tree
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil
We set up our Christmas tree today. We have accumulated so many ornaments over the years that we don't have room on the tree for all of them. But, I love picking through the ornaments and putting my favorite ones on the tree. Many of them bring back such happy memories, such as our children when they were young, trips we've taken, and gifts from students I've had.

December 4, 2009

Day 338 - First snow


Day 338 - First snow
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil
We awoke today to the first snow of the season. It was only a dusting, but the temperature was a cold 24ยบ when I took the dog out first thing this morning. Yes, snow is very pretty, and some people love it. However, it is COLD and I do not like being cold. I got out my long down coat and took the dog for her walk. She doesn't seem to mind the cold at all, so it looks like I better get used to it!

December 3, 2009

Day 337 - Monkeys


Day 337 - Monkeys
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil

Today I subbed in a 2nd grade classroom. The theme (mascot?) in this classroom revolves around monkeys! There are monkeys all over the room, including many is this revolving rack. When the kids arrived in the room today, many of them handed me a coupon and asked if they could work with a monkey today. They had earned the coupons & when they turn it in, they get to choose a monkey and have it with them all day. This is such a cute & motivating idea to encourage great behavior!

December 2, 2009

Day 336 - Cooper


Day 335 - Cooper
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil

A friend emailed me this photo (without the caption). She said her kids had surprised her and her husband with this puppy as an early Christmas present. I added the the caption by using a website call Speechable. I know they are going to enjoy this beautiful new furry friend!!

December 1, 2009

Day 335 - Pond


Day 335 - Pond
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil

Today was most likely the last unseasonably warm day we'll have for quite awhile. So, even though I had planned to do some projects inside, I couldn't resist taking a nice long walk with the dog. The geese remain on the wetlands pond in the park by our house, but the prairie grasses have now turn completely brown. Compare it to the photo I took in October to see the difference.

November 30, 2009

Day 334 - Family


Day 334 - Family
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil

I love putting little touches of the season throughout the house and especially like things that have been handmade. This sweet little girl with a pumpkin is made of wood & I purchased it at a craft fair years ago. In the frame is one of the last family photos we took at the Christmas before our oldest daughter was married. Both items are signs of the seasons, one ending and one beginning.

November 29, 2009

Day 333 - Autumn


Day 333 - Autumn
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil

November is nearly over and it is time to put away my autumn decorations. This pumpkin, that is made of wood, and the ceramic fall leaf candles have been the center piece on my dining room table during October and November. They'll be replaced during the next few days by snowmen!

November 28, 2009

Day 332 - Grandparents


Day 332 - Grandparents
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil
We drove Kristin back to the airport this afternoon. But before that, we brought lunch over to her grandparents house so she could visit with them again for a bit before heading back to Denver. These are Scott's parents and I feel so blessed to have them as in-laws and only about 30 min. away.

November 27, 2009

Day 331 - Ladder & lights


Day 331 - Ladder & lights
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil

My husband's day after Thanksgiving tradition has been putting the Christmas lights up outside. Here he is climbing up the ladder as he strings lights along the gutters. Although it was cold today, it was mostly sunny and no rain or snow, so according to him, it was a good day to do the lights.

November 26, 2009

Day 330 - Side dishes


Day 330 - Side dishes
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil
Happy Thanksgiving! These side dishes will be going into the oven soon so that they can be hot & ready to serve as we head over to Uncle Bruce's house later today. We'll have 19 people around the Thanksgiving table, and I'm very thankful to be able to celebrate Thanksgiving with our family!

It was a lot of fun cooking with my girls yesterday! Cheryl made stuffing (not pictured), Kristin made sweet potato casserole, and I made two vegie dishes (Swiss medley and spinach casserole). My kitchen gets a bit crowded with so many cooks, but the shared family time is priceless.

November 25, 2009

Day 329 - Crystal bowl


Day 329 - Crystal bowl
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil

It is fun to take out special serving dishes during the holidays. My china cabinet stores many family heirlooms, like this crystal bowl that was passed down by one of our grandmothers. The stored keepsakes bring back such happy memories, I wonder why we don't use take them out more often.

November 24, 2009

Day 328 - Turkey


Day 328 - Turkey
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil

I didn't put out a lot of Thanksgiving decorations this year. However, I set put out my favorite turkey. This one was made by my mom using needlepoint on plastic canvas. It's another wonderful keepsake that brings me happy memories of Mom. I'm very thankful for the years I had with Mom.

November 23, 2009

Day 327 - Missed you!


Day 327 - Missed you!
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil

We picked Kristin up at the airport this afternoon. It is so nice having her home from Denver for Thanksgiving! We miss having her close to home. She misses us too, but had the biggest hug for Lucy!

November 22, 2009

Day 326 - Sunset


Day 326 - Sunset
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil
The sun is setting earlier & earlier, but on days when we see the sun, I guess I shouldn't complain. I caught this shot in the rear view mirror while hubby was driving and the sunset was behind us.

November 21, 2009

Day 325 - Lincoln


Day 325 - Lincoln
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil

We stayed in Springfield one more day so that we could tour the Lincoln Museum. I'm glad we did! The museum is very well done and an interesting attraction. I learned some new things about Lincoln and that period in history and enjoyed looking at the exhibits and multimedia presentations.

November 20, 2009

Day 324 - Deserted


Day 324 - Deserted
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil

It is hard to imagine that this hallway was bustling with people just a couple hours ago. This is the hallway outside the ballroom at the Crown Plaza in Springfield and during the past two days, it was crowded with people going to and from the wonderful sessions at the Illinois Education and Technology Conference.

November 19, 2009

Day 323 - Keynote


Day 323 - Keynote
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil

I'm at IETC and this is the first slide in Annette Lamb's presentation at the Keynote Luncheon today. I love that the Keynote speeches are at lunch at this conference and that the price of the lunch is included in the registration. This was my first time hearing Annette Lamb. She is an excellent speaker!

November 18, 2009

Day 322 - Crowne Plaza


Day 322 -
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil

This blurry photo is the best I could do....my camera does not like taking pictures without the flash at night.....really needs a tripod at night. Anyway, we arrived in Springfield around 6 p.m. and checked into the Crowne Plaza where the IETC will be held Thursday & Friday. The drive down was easy and shorter than we expected.

November 17, 2009

Day 321 - Packing gadgets


Day 321 - Packing gadgets
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil

Today I'm packing for my trip to Springfield for IETC. Here are the most important bags, my computer bag and gadget bag. I think I've got all the gadgets & cords I'll need!

November 16, 2009

Day 320 - Pick-up Truck


Day 320 - Pick-up Truck
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil

I've seen this truck several times while out walking the dog in our neighborhood. I've admired how well cared for it is for an old truck. I don't know much about cars/trucks. Can anyone pinpoint the make/model/year?

November 15, 2009

Day 319 - Poster


Day 319 - Poster
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil

I spent a lot of time this weekend putting together this poster for my poster session at IETC (Illinois Education and Technology Conference). I'm looking forward to spending three days in Springfield, two at the conference and one doing a bit of sightseeing with my husband.

November 14, 2009

Day 318 - Expressions


Day 318 - Expressions
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil

Tonight I went with some friends to a fund raiser for our high school's show choir, The Expressions. One friend has a daughter in the choir and there are several kids in the group who are former students from the elementary school where I taught. It was quite a fun evening, especially the silent auction and the concert!

November 13, 2009

Day 317 - Candles


Day 317 - Candles
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil

Tonight I spent time with friends at a candle party. The scent of candles was thick in the air as the candle consultant demonstrated the newest products and holiday specials. I look forward to using my new candles in December as we celebrate Christmas!

November 12, 2009

Day 316 - Clutter


Day 316 - Clutter
Originally uploaded by Karin Beil
I'm airing my dirty laundry.....well, not really laundry, but the clutter that has accumulated in one room of our home. Yesterday, we had the carpeting cleaned in the house, so we had to get things up off the floor. This room is our dormer and has been a playroom for years. The boxes you see are sitting on our pool table. The clutter is a combination of STUFF that I brought home from school when I retired and that our two daughters have left when moving out. Maybe now that I've confessed, we'll actually spend some time sorting through the stuff!